Monday, July 09, 2007

Advertisers Come Around: Brain Matters

If you know anything about advertising, you probably know that television ratings drive advertising costs. The premise is simple, the more people watch, the more a "spot" costs.

But what do ratings really translate to? Eyes on screen. And we've been dissing that measure for years.

Over here in the psychophysiology world, we want to know how much attention you're paying and what is happening with your physiological arousal.

Now advertisers have discovered, kind of, these measures. They're calling it engagement (See the article titled "OMD Claims to Know How Rapt Audiences Stack up Against Your Average Eyeballs" at

"Completed by OMD and presented to an Advertising Research Federation forum late last month, the research indicates that not only does consumer engagement with media and advertising drive sales, but it also can drive sales more than media spending levels. That suggests even a relatively small media outlay could work wonders should the ads draw keen attention from consumers within media they also find engaging, said Mike Hess, director of global research and consumer insights for OMD."

Well, of course!

Pick any metaphor you want, but it always holds true. Consider teaching. Is it more important to know how many students are in the class or how many students are paying attention to the teacher?

In his book, Lovemarks, Kevin Roberts, CEO Worldwide Saatchi & Saatchi, said, "I'm looking for research that counts the beats of your heart rather than the fingers of your hand."


And you do not need to pay OMD for their proprietary engagement tool. That's just foolish. Engagement equals:

positive affect + attention + arousal

It's just that simple. It's not what your eyes are doing. It's what your brain is doing. More specifically, it's what the combination of your brain and body are doing.

If all of your physiological signals indicate that you're getting ready to jump out of that chair and smother the television with a big, wet kiss, then the ad probably worked!

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